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Last Updated: Friday, 7 September 2007, 21:02 GMT 22:02 UK
France v Argentina as it happened
Full-time: France 12-17 Argentina


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By Mark Orlovac


"France were inept at times and were a little arrogant. Argentina put them under a lot of pressure but what did they expect? It's the World Cup."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

"The bars of France have been struck dumb by that result."
BBC Sport's Tom Fordyce

2154: The French players look absolutely stunned as they trundle off the field. They do not quite believe what has happened here and they know that no World Cup winner has lost a match in the pool stages. This is a result that will send shockwaves through the sport and surely now it is a matter of time before they are included in the Tri-Nations or the Six Nations. The Argentine players celebrate in style and they deserve it.

Thanks very much for your company. Have a good evening.

80 mins: FULL-TIME France 12-17 Argentina
Les Bleus try everything to keep the ball and the match alive - but they are not going anywhere and Argentina force them into another error. Argentina get the penalty but Contepomi misses it. The ball does not cross the dead-ball line and France can attack again. It does not matter though and Argentina hold on for an incredible victory.

78 mins: France wing Christophe Dominici makes a half break but the Pumas are producing super-human efforts in defence. They eventually win a penalty but Felipe Contepomi puts the kick wide. If that had gone over, this game would have been over.

76 mins: Inch by inch, Argentina work their way into the French half. We all know what is coming don't we? Felipe Contepomi tries a drop goal but even though he is not under any pressure, it fails to even reach the posts.

74 mins: It is all a bit scrappy but Argentina will not mind. They really have been pummelled by the French pack this half but the hosts are still behind. Jean-Baptiste Elissalde comes on for France scrum-half Pierre Mignoni.

"That was an awful kick. Michalak will be so miffed by that. It will be so demoralising for the other French players."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

70 mins: Hernandez delivers a very, very tired-looking high ball that actually goes behind him. France collect and charge forward. Corleto flops onto a kick through but he is isolated and concedes the penalty. Michalak then steps up but somehow he misses. That was really bad - the crowd do not really believe it.

68 mins: France desperately try and up the pace but the Argentine players are tackling as if their lives depend on it. The Pumas win the ball and hooker, that's right hooker, Mario Ledesma produces a fine kick to touch.

64 mins: The Pumas blow what could have been the decisive score. Borges cuts Heymans in half and the Frenchman loses the ball, allowing the Pumas to pile forward. Full-half Corleto kicks on and then collects it but his pass to Felipe Contepomi is dropped and a relieved French defence can clear.

62 mins: To the cheers of a Stade de France crowd that have been known to boo him, Michalak comes onto the field to replace the injured Skrela. Immediately everything by France seems to be cleaner and quicker - Argentina are just hanging on in there now.

59 mins: PENALTY France 12-17 Argentina
The French forwards keep it tight and a maul rolls its way down the field. Argentina give away the penalty and Skrela makes up for his earlier error to slot it over. The deficit is now five points and scary-looking Sale forward Sebastien Chabal takes the field to replace skipper Fabien Pelous. My word, he really is a man-mountain and the Argentine players will not fancy him charging at them.

56 mins: France get a penalty as an Argentine tackler does not roll away. Skrela steps up to take an easy-looking penalty... and then misses. Oh dear. He looks to the heavens and well he might, that was not good.

"Argentina must not get sloppy and keep kicking the ball away because France can score from 70 or 80 metres out."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

54 mins: Heymans takes a high ball, releases Aurelien Rougerie and the Clermont Auvergne winger streaks his way down the field. Most positive stuff from the hosts.

51 mins: The Stade de France crowd start a rendition of the Marseillaise to try and lift their team. Heymans drops another testing up-and-under underneath his own posts but he recovers and clears.

"That was outstanding defence. How on earth did they manage to keep France out? They must be 'hanging' after that. Deep breaths all round."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

47 mins: Argentina make a rare error from a free kick, booting the ball straight out, and France pile forward. They camp on the line and the forwards take turns to try and get over. Argentina push the hosts backwards though, and can clear their lines when France concede a penalty.

44 mins: France see a lot of early ball in this half but do not really punch their way through the tough and committed Argentine defence.

"Sadly...France will re group after a Laporte blast and win by two scores."
vinotackler on 606

41 mins: Argentina start the second half and France immediately try and attack.

2100: I really would not like to be in the French dressing room at the moment. The paint is sure to be peeling off it as Laporte gives his assessment of the half to his players. It is probably going to be a bit like how my wife reacted when I told her that I had gone swimming with our cars keys still in my trunks pocket. Anyone know how I can fix them by the way?

2058: "The crowd are trying to get the French team going with a few chants of "Allez les Bleus" but there is a distinctly nervy edge to proceedings here as we reach half-time. This is not what the majority of them came to see. The hosts are fluffing their opening lines badly, and are lucky to be only eight points adrift."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer at the Stade de France

HALF-TIME France 9-17 Argentina

"Argentina's gameplan is pretty obvious, it is confrontational and direct and they can go into the break with their heads held high. France have a lot of work to do. I do not think Skrela will continue at fly-half in the second half - it will be Michalak."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

40 mins: PENALTY France 9-17 Argentina
Spreadbury misses what seems a pretty clear forward pass by France and then gives the hosts a penalty after Argentina are offside at a ruck. Skrela kicks what could be a crucial penalty.

"I hope the Pumas can last the distance as the French will come back at them."
sir_alans_wallet on 606

35 mins: France are desperately trying to force the play as they attempt to wrestle their way out of the mess they find themselves in. A Heymans clearance is charged down although France survive.

34 mins: PENALTY France 6-17 Argentina
Argentina attack and France are penalised for playing the ball on the floor. From near halfway, Contepomi fires over.

31 mins: PENALTY France 6-14 Argentina
For the first time in what seems like ages, France string some phases together. The Pumas infringe and Skrela reduces the deficit.

27 mins: TRY France 3-14 Argentina
Well, well, well. Something special could be happening here. Traille breaks out of defence and gives the ball to Remy Martin who delivers an interception pass straight into the hands of Argentine wing Lucas Borges. Woeful. Argentina counter and the lightening-quick Corleto joins the line and wins the foot race to score a try which the Pumas totally deserve. Contepomi's conversion comes back off the post.

"What on earth are France doing? They need to get themselves together quickly because at the moment they have no direction. They look rattled and ragged. Argentina are not playing an extravagant game but it is France that are making the mistakes."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

24 mins: PENALTY France 3-9 Argentina
This is all very odd from France. The hosts win a scrum near their own line against the head but almost immediately they lose the ball again. Argentina get to within three metres of the line and win a penalty which Contepomi slots over from the touchline. Traille is back on.

21 mins: The hosts are struggling just to get out of their own half. Full-back Ignacio Corleto produces a wonderful up-and-under that he catches and again France are under pressure. The first whistles are heard from the Paris crowd.

20 mins: Argentina remain on the front foot and Contepomi tries yet another drop goal but it drifts wide.

16 mins: France centre Damien Traille comes off with a very nasty cut on his head. I can't tell you where it is though because there is so much blood. He is replaced by fly-half Frederic Michalak. Contepomi puts the ball deep into the France half with a cross-field kick that bounces into touch.

14 mins: Pichot does really well to nick the ball off Imanol Harinordoquy but can't find Hernandez. More importantly, I've just split cold gravy all down my trousers. Rubbish. They were clean on.

13 mins: France show what they are capable of with a lovely passing move that takes them from deep inside their own half to near the Pumas line. That was good stuff. Argentina do well though in defence and manage to turn the ball over.

"Argentina have showed real maturity in the way they have started this game. They are everywhere and are starting to dominate the contact area."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

9 mins: PENALTY France 3-6 Argentina
Lovely stuff from Felipe Contepomi who finds a gap in the France defence after the Pumas win turnover ball. The hosts infringe as they try and defend and Contepomi adds his second penalty.

7 mins: PENALTY France 3-3 Argentina
The Pumas are pinged by Spreadbury at the breakdown and Skrela kicks the simple penalty. That should settle the hosts down.

5 mins: PENALTY France 0-3 Argentina
France charge down another Hernandez drop-goal attempt. They try to counter attack but are penalised for holding on and inside centre Felipe Contepomi slots over for the first points of the World Cup.

2 mins: Hernandez tries a drop goal but it misses. The Pumas have opened this game superbly and with some real attacking intent.

1 min: From the kick-off Hernandez clears to touch but the French, maybe showing a few nerves, lose the first line-out and Argentina attack. France full-back Cedric Heymans is put under a lot of pressure from Agustin Pichot but the hosts can clear from deep.

2007: David Skrela of France gets the game, and the World Cup, underway.

2003: The Argentine anthem is perfectly respected before the volume is racked up for the Marseillaise. The hairs on the back of my neck are definitely up now.

1959: A brief speech from International Rugby Board chairman Syd Millar and we are ready for the anthems.

1957: The teams, stony faced, slowly walk out onto the Stade de France pitch past the Webb Ellis trophy and are greeted by a wall of noise. We are really here now people. Great stuff.

"Argentina coach Marcelo Loffreda obviously wants to attack with the selection of Juan Martin Hernandez at fly-half. It is a high-pressure environment and it is a risk but I think it can work."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

1946: Really looking forward to the officiating of my favourite referee, England's Tony Spreadbury. Spreaders is sure to come out with some fine West country chat that we can pick up. Heard him say once, "you can't lie there, it's not a beach". Brilliant.

1942: "The stadium was jumping an hour before kick-off and now it's gone ballistic. After five minutes of blokes banging what look like red metal dustbins, they've just introduced a rugby legend from each country, who all ran individually into the centre circle before taking their place on the side of the pitch.

Former Ireland captain Keith Wood received a huge cheer, but the volume levels rose even higher for first Jonah Lomu, then Gareth Edwards, before the final introduction of Jean-Pierre Rives sent the crowd into a complete frenzy."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer at the Stade de France

1935: The Stade de France looks absolutely superb under the lights. The opening ceremony is well underway and we have lines of brightly coloured dancers doing what can only be described as a very large version of the Hokey Cokey. Looks fun.

"The French players have grown in stature of late and they know they are in charge of their own destiny. They have it within themselves to produce a result."
BBC Radio 5live analyst Matt Dawson

"I must say, even though Argentina are very strong. I think the French will outclass them, especially in the backs. Jauzion to have a stormer."
keeperreaper on 606

1929: Feeling better now. Got a large plate in front of me with the BBC Friday night staple, pie, chips and gravy (with a token amount of veg just to please my mum). I'm sure you can do better than that....what exotic fare are you tucking into?

"I was disappointed by Argentina's performance against Wales, I think France will win by 15 points."
Anonymous, via text

1912: "Plenty of journalists muttering about the organisation on arrival at the Stade de France media centre. Only two people handing out match tickets with long lines of people waiting, the media guides have run out already and there are no match programmes yet, with an hour until kick-off. 'Not a patch on Australia' is the general refrain, followed by "they've had four years to organise this". Not a great start.
After a beautiful sunny day in the French capital, the skies over St Denis have clouded over as kick-off approaches, with a dark and slightly sinister air to them. Maybe a sign of the blood and thunder to come on the pitch?"
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer at the Stade de France

"It should be France playing at home but Argentina could just cause an upset if France don't close them down sharp. Who will win? France just."
misterarmchairpundit on 606

"Not sure what the best result for Ireland is here. An Argentina win would make the group open, but a bit like a game of Russian roulette."
Ade O'Connor via text

1905: "The crowds on the trains into the Stade de France complex were like Oxford Circus on a Friday night. Uncomfortable to say the least. I was eternally grateful to a French gentleman dressed in a Tricolores shirt and navy beret who knew the vagaries of the RER service. He practically dragged me off the train at the Gare du Nord, having spotted our particular service was not, in fact, heading to the Stade. He reckoned tonight's match would be 'dur' (hard) for the French, but 'as long as it's a good match, that's the main thing'. Don't expect Bernard Laporte thinks the same way."
BBC Sport's Bryn Palmer at the Stade de France

1900: Evening all. So here we are then, after all the build-up, the sixth World Cup is finally upon us. And what a cracker we have for the Stade de France opener - hosts France against dark horses Argentina.

Les Bleus have looked mightily impressive in their warm-up games, despatching England (twice) and Wales, and a comfortable win in Paris would be the perfect start for Bernard Laporte's men as they negotiate the tournament's toughest group.

Expectations are high for the 2006 and 2007 Six Nations champions and defeat is, well, unthinkable.

Argentina though, are not going to be pushovers. They have risen up the world rankings and are now lie in sixth place, one ahead of England.

The Pumas, coached by the Leicester-bound Marcelo Loffreda, defeated the English at Twickenham last year and will be eyeing this game as the chance to pull off a major shock.

The teams last met in November last year, with France holding on for a 27-26 victory.

Are you at the ground, at a pub in France or at a rugby club in Britain eagerly awaiting the start of the tournament?

Wherever you are, let us know your thoughts and predictions on the game. Text us on 81111 or get involved on 606.

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